NORTH MIAMI: William Adams, former associate professor of advertising and public relations at Florida International University, will be remembered as a consummate PR professional and an educator who inspired students to pursue careers in public relations, said friends and former students.
Adams, 62, died March 13 after a heart attack.
He taught at FIU for the past 13 years, receiving a wide variety of honors - including being named one of PRWeek's 10 outstanding American PR educators in 2000.
Prior to beginning his teaching career, Adams spent 25 years in corporate public relations, working for major corporations such as Amoco and Phillips Petroleum.
Judith Webb, now an SVP with TroneAtlanta, first met Adams in the early 1970s, when she was a student and he was an oil-company PR man. An Adams' speech and follow-up conversation at a PRSA meeting so inspired Webb that upon graduation, she applied to work at Amoco, where Adams then worked.
"He was everything you would ever want as a young person looking for a mentor," Webb said.
Webb recalled that Adams garnered major positive press for Amoco during the 1970s Arab oil embargo by hitchhiking to his Washington, DC job every day to save gasoline. His exploits garnered front-page coverage in DC newspapers.
Angel Langston, now a VP with the Apple Organization in North Miami, had still been enjoying regular lunches with Adams three years after she graduated from FIU.
"He stayed in touch with his students," she said. "His professionalism and his ethics confirmed my decision to pursue public relations as a profession. He taught me everything."
The Adams family is asking that donations in his memory be made to the Community Foundation of Broward-PRSA Gulfstream Chapter Scholarship Fund. Donations can be sent to the Community Foundation of Broward, 1401 E. Broward Blvd, Suite 100, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 33301. Adams served as president of the chapter in 1995.